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Get on board, Malaysians. Stop child abuse now!

NEWS RELEASE
Get on Board - Stop child abuse now!
UNICEF’s “peoples campaign” to unite 100,000 supporters to raise their hand to protect children

 

                                                      © UNICEF Malaysia/2010
UNICEF Representative to Malaysia Mr. Hans Olsen with Malaysian children on the Get on Board bus to stop child abuse in the country.

KUALA LUMPUR, 6 October 2010 – Putting an end to child abuse is a shared responsibility, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) highlighted today during the launch of its ‘Get on Board’ campaign. The two-month initiative drives home the message of child protection with a rallying call to action: ‘Raise your hand. Stop child abuse now!’ and aims to unite 100,000 Malaysians in time for the finale on Human Rights Day in December.

Every child has a right to grow up in a safe and protected environment reminded UNICEF’s Representative to Malaysia Mr. Hans Olsen, while urging Malaysians to learn more about child abuse and what can be done to protect children on an individual and community level.

“We need to raise public awareness of the devastating effects of child abuse,” said Mr. Olsen, “and empower and encourage people to become personally involved and support families and parents so that we can prevent all forms of child abuse from affecting the lives of children in Malaysia.”

Speaking out for children

Prominent Malaysian personalities actor/singer Afdlin Shauki, activist and blogger Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir and parenting expert and columnist Ruth Liew are amongst the first to get on board the campaign. The UNICEF-appointed campaign Advocates together with event hosts and TV personalities Asha Gill and Naz Rahman called on their fans and supporters “to take responsibility to help transform their communities into places that care about—and actively support—families and children.”

An average of 7 children were abused every day in 2008 according to Malaysia’s Social Welfare Department statistics which revealed a rise in the numbers of children being abused. In 2008, 2,780 cases of child abuse were reported compared to 2,279 in 2007 and 1,999 in 2006. Since these figures only represent reported cases, UNICEF and its partners fear that it does not tell the true story about child abuse in the country.

“These statistics alone do not tell us enough about the extent of abuse in a population, the severity of abuse over time or why abuse is occurring,” added Mr. Olsen. “This is why we are calling for public support for action to better understand the extent of abusive behaviour in the general population and the reasons behind it. This will help the Government design evidence-based interventions to protect children from abuse and ensure them a safe and healthy childhood.”

Going digital for children

The public can now log online to www.uniteagainstabuse.my to express their support for action and to learn about child abuse. A part of the ‘Get on Board’ Campaign, the website provides knowledge, insights, advice and resources to engage, educate and empower adults and young people to protect children from abuse. Website visitors will also be given the chance to create their own unique ‘Hand’ symbol which they can use as their Facebook profile picture or on other social media in a show of solidarity across the country.

The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, Childline Malaysia, YouthAsia, the Nuffnang blogger community and a host of corporate sponsors and media partners have also stepped up to the 'Get on Board' campaign. (Please see attached for complete list of partners to date).

“We hope that the ‘Get on Board’ website will inspire people to spread the word and say "stop!" to child abuse through blogs and other social networking sites,” Mr. Olsen appealed. “Small positive actions can make a big difference in the life of a child – even if it’s just a Tweet or a Facebook update!”

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NOTE TO EDITOR:

CHILD ABUSE IN MALAYSIA
Despite significant strides made by the Government in improving child protection measures in recent years, statistics from the Department of Social Welfare show a rise in reported child abuse cases in Malaysia. In 2008, child abuse reports rose to 2,780 from 2,279 in 2007 and 1,999 in 2006. Based on 2008 reported figures, neglect is the most common form of child abuse (952 cases), followed by physical abuse (863 cases). Sexual abuse accounted for 733 cases, of which 529 (72%) were incest. Failure to provide care and supervision has become the most frequent cause of death among children. In 2008, 58 cases of abandoned babies were also reported. Tragically, most child abusers of reported cases are parents, immediate family members, relatives or foster parents of the victims themselves. Child abuse is an offence in Malaysia, punishable under the Child Act (2001) and the Penal Code (revised 1997). Offenders may be liable to a maximum fine of RM 50,000 or up to 20 years imprisonment, or both depending on the offence. Offenders may also be punished with whipping in addition to the fine and/or imprisonment.

GET ON BOARD CAMPAIGN
The 'Get on Board' Campaign is a two-month initiative by UNICEF and its partners to provide the Malaysian public with a platform to learn and respond to child abuse in the country. The digitally-driven Campaign, a first by UNICEF in the region, aims to strengthen public understanding of child abuse and neglect by providing information on the types of abuse, why it could happen and how to recognise symptoms in an abused child. It also hopes to empower the public to act on behalf of children by equipping them with protection solutions, parenting tips, action ideas and a directory of important resources. The Campaign will host a special “public” program on 20 November in conjunction with Universal Children’s Day and culminate on 10 December. The ‘Get on Board’ Exhibition at One Utama Shopping Mall - High Street (Ground Floor near Parkson) will remain open to the public from 7-10 October for visitors to learn more and register their support for the Campaign. Get on Board.

For more information, please contact:

Indra Kumari Nadchatram
UNICEF Media Malaysia
Tel +6012 292 6872, inadchatram@unicef.org

Juana Jaafar
UNICEF Media Malaysia
Tel + 6012 530 9693, jjmanap@unicef.org

 

 

 

 

Get on Board! website



  •  Media Centre

Speeches: Get on Board!



MR. HANS OLSEN
UNICEF Representative, Malaysia


15.12.2010

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Photos: Get on Board!


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